Another Day, Another New Baby Animal At Como!

November 14th, 2016

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Please welcome (and visit!) Lucile, one of Como’s newest babies! Lucile is a saki monkey born in the early morning hours of October 24 to mother Patty, and father Milton. This is Milton and Patty’s eighth baby, all born at Como. Their other offspring are all over the country now, from San Diego to Fargo.

The name Lucile is a nod to longtime primate zookeeper Megan who lost her beloved Grandmother Lucile earlier this year.

Saki monkeys have a gestation of five months. Sakis are independent at six months of age but will usually stay with their family group for a year or two.

Patty (18 yo) was born on St. Patty’s Day at Cleveland; Milton (16 yo) was born at Pittsburg. They came to Como 14 years ago to form a breeding pair. Sakis can live into their thirties and will often mate for life.

Sakis display sexual dichromism, which means the males and females are different colors. Infants are born with the brown female coloration, and the males begin to develop the characteristic black body and white face at two months of age.

So why is Patty holding a spoon of peanut butter you ask? She quickly grabbed it from a zookeeper who was using it to entice her to get a good photo!

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Zookeeper Melanie in Churchill

October 25th, 2016

Zookeeper Melanie is in Churchill, Manitoba for a couple of weeks working with Polar Bears International! Be sure to follow this blog as we post about her journey!

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These little balls of fur were born last December! Who doesn’t love Polar Bear cubs?!

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Update #4

Lots of other critters call the the wildlife management area near Churchill home and this year we have seen a lot of them!  Arctic Fox, Silver Fox, Ptarmigan, Arctic Hare and Snowy owls are just a few.  It has been amazing to see so many species and share in the collective excitement on the buggy as everyone enjoys these animals.  People from all over the globe are instant friends in that moment, connected to nature and each other.  It truly is amazing.

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Update #3

Polar Bears International focuses on Polar bear conservation through education and research.  My job on the buggy is to help by educating the many guests about Polar Bears and the effects of a changing climate.  Every day is different, today my group had people from Australia, England, the United States, Japan, and Canada!
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Update #2

Today we got to see these two little females interacting and playing.  It was fun to see bears moving around and having fun.  They stayed together for about 30 minutes and then went their separate ways.

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Update #1

First day in Churchill!   We are out on buggy one (the buggy reserved for Polar Bears International) testing cameras to get ready for PBI’s  live polar bear cam and came across this sleepy girl.  The Hudson Bay is still open water but the smaller pools left by the tide are starting to freeze.
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Minnesota En Plein Air: A Painting Exhibition – Now Open

October 18th, 2016

Minnesota En Plein Air: A Painting Exhibition is a stunning painting exhibition featuring some of the most talented artists in Minnesota. The exhibit runs now through December 11.

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OPM’s (Outdoor Painters of Minnesota) Mission

The mission of Outdoor Painters of Minnesota is to encourage and promote painting directly from nature.  OPM provides regular opportunities for members to paint together, looks for ways to develop member skills and reputation, and seeks to raise awareness of the beauty found in nature through outdoor painting.

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Conservation Camp Memes

September 23rd, 2016

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This past summer 6th and 7th graders participated in Como’s popular “Camp Conservation”. Campers explored the field of conservation, got to know Como’s zookeepers and horticulturalists, and met the species they are working to protect, such as the Sumatran Orangutan, Wyoming Toad, and many species of orchid. They also discovered simple ways they could help endangered plants and animals at home and in their community, and had fun working on a photo project to encourage Como visitors to conserve and protect the planet. Campers learned tips and tricks from a professional photographer, and then explored the zoo grounds with iPads  photographing Como’s animals throughout the camp week. These photos were inspired by the conservation stories they heard during camp. At the end of the week, campers selected their favorite photo and paired it with one of ten conservation quotes and phrases such as:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

“Conserve. There is no Planet B.”

Using an app, they created an internet meme. These memes are currently being displayed on screens in Como Park Zoo & Conservatory’s Visitor Center. You can also check them out below. If you know any youth interested in conservation, tell them about Como’s summer camps. Camp Conservation will be back in the summer of 2017! For more information on what Como is doing to protect wildlife, check out the link below:

http://www.comozooconservatory.org/about/conservation/#/conservation

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The New Youth Engagement Program Is Up and Running!

September 7th, 2016

The new Youth Engagement Program (YEP) is up and running at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory!  Throughout the 2016 – 2017 school year, program participants will grow as a team and work together to create positive change within their communities.  The young people will design and implement conservation-based projects with the support of Como staff and community mentors.

In August, a group of YEP participants attended a retreat at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center to being the team building process.  It was a great experience for everyone!  The youth worked together to share their perspective with you.  Enjoy!

Youth Blog:

We can all agree that we’d never seen stars brighter than that in our lives. Our time at Eagle Bluff forced us out of our comfort zones with challenges like night hikes and rainstorms. We were introduced not only to new aspects of the natural world that surrounds us, but also to our new group of peers.

Though our group was small, its intimacy ultimately allowed for more organic conversation, and connection on a deeper level. We came to know and appreciate each others’ differing strengths, and began to anticipate their roles in the projects to come.

In discussions focusing on global distribution of wealth and resources, we were reminded of just how daunting these global issues can be. Poverty, unavailability of heath care and education – these are concepts and realities that are often barely tangible not only to people our age, but to vast populations that are not directly affected.

Environmental awareness and action feels, at times, like an utter impossibility.

As we work to bridge the gap between communities and their natural environment, we hope that a new appreciation for local wildlife can be reached, and will result in the beginnings of eco-friendly changes.

Though we are starting small, we know that small actions can, in fact, lead to change.

From as small as the waste reduction strategies we learned at Eagle Bluff, we will make change. The small group of us at Eagle Bluff can’t wait to meet and start working with the rest of our team, as well as our communities.

Special thanks to Como Friends, Emily and the Eagle Bluff staff, and to our amazing leaders Steph and Jessie- thank you for making Y.E.P. possible!!

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A late-night rain storm provided the perfect opportunity to see which forest critters shared our path before our hike.  The retreat at Eagle Bluff allowed YEP participants to hone their observational skills creating a deeper connection to the natural world.

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Eagle Bluff staff facilitated a variety of group challenges for our group.  Here, our team works together to “ski” as one unit.  Team building opportunities like this foster communication, creativity, and self-confidence as each member contributes their strengths for the greater good of the group.

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